Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc., a Florida-based subsidiary of Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Ltd., will invest $325 million to build a new steam and gas turbine plant outside Savannah, eventually hiring 500 people.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and Mitsubishi Power Systems Senior Vice President Dave Walsh made the announcement at a groundbreaking Monday, Sept. 21. 

The plant will be located near Pooler on a 119-acre plot that is part of the more than 1,500-acre Chatham County Industrial Site, also known as Georgia's "mega-site."  

The site sits some 10 miles from the Port of Savannah, close to the intersection of Interstates 95 and 16.  The plant will serve Mitsubishi Power's customers in North and South America by building new turbines and servicing existing ones.  The turbines are used in power plants to generate electricity. 

The Pooler mega-site was initially intended for DaimlerChrysler AG, which in September 2003 scrapped plans to spend $750 million to build a plant that would have produced vans there. 

The site has remained empty since the German automaker passed it up, and subsequent efforts to attract auto industry titans like Kia Motors Corp., Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp. were unsuccessful. 

The plant will be built in three phases, according to a news release. Construction on the first phase will begin this year.  Phase one will consist of manufacturing gas turbine combustor components to support operating units in the Western Hemisphere. Hiring will begin early next year, and the first products are expected to roll off the line in the fall.

Phase two includes building up turbine parts service capabilities. In the third and final phase, the company will make the next-generation of high-efficiency, low-emission gas turbines, the release said.  

Mitsubishi chose Pooler after a two-year site search around the Southeast.

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